SHE might have been recognised as the best on ground, but for Geelong Falcons’ Denby Taylor, there was no best on ground.
The AFL Academy member and Vic Country defender was at her consistent best early, rebounding out of the back half and ensuring that the Northern Knights never had it easy going inside 50. With the Falcons trailing at half-time by 13 points and yet to kick a goal, Geelong coach Jason Armistead approached her with a surprise move – Taylor would play on the wing throughout the second half, with partner-in-crime Lucy McEvoy moving forward. They could afford the switch with full-back Abbey Chapman in top form, marking everything on the last line.
“I suppose it was a bit of a surprise act, we could call it,” Taylor said. “I wasn’t expecting to move, so a bit of change is always good, and yeah it definitely paid off.”
Taylor said it was a bit surreal after the game knowing that she was now a premiership player with 22 of her closest mates.
“I’m speechless really,” she said. “I’m really proud of the girls obviously. “We’ve worked really hard this season and I think a major part of it was the bond we had and we focused a lot on sticking together as a team and I think it really paid off.”
Taylor said the Falcons had prepared for a red-hot Knights outfit, and reset themselves in the second half after Northern booted the only two goals of the first half.
“We had a bit of a plan if that (early Knights led) happened,” she said. “We had our half-time little talk and said ‘alright let’s steam on, let’s go’ and yeah, it worked, we got on top of it, so we’re really happy.”
Despite being awarded best on ground, Taylor said the victory was the work of every player on the winning side.
“It’s hard to say [what Taylor thought of her performance] but I just thought everyone played so well,” she said. “I didn’t think there was a best on ground, I thought it was all an equal effort and yeah I’m so happy for all the girls.”
Now with the Premiership Cup in the Falcons headquarters, Taylor said the players would bask in the well-deserved win.
“I’m guessing we’ll have a bit of a celebration back at the club or someone’s house,” she said. “We’ve trained so hard for this, and to get the win in the end is just remarkable. I’m so happy and I couldn’t ask for a better team to do it with.”